Wenceslao: Aguirre’s claim

SOMETHING amusing happened after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre accused Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña of being a drug protector based on the 2016 testimony of Reynaldo “Jumbo” Diaz, cousin of slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz. Osmeña got some sympathies from his political rival, former mayor Michael Rama. The mayor probably didn’t need some sympathies but he got that nevertheless from Rama.

“It is not easy to be accused of something like that because it not only affects him but also his family, the same way it did for me and my family. I hope he will be given his right to due process and to face his accusers. This was something I never had the chance to do—to address a blatant and false accusation in the proper forum,” Rama said in a Facebook post.

If there’s any consolation for Osmeña, the accusation hurled against Rama was made by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself while the accusation against him was made only by a suspected drug peddler and by a Duterte underling. The mayor can even say Aguirre may not have the president’s imprimatur on this one.

The drug peddling charges against Rama, though, has remained nebulous. I think this came from Rama’s supposed association with the late Cresistomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno, something I got some bits of knowledge of because Llaguno was, in the few years prior to his slaying, lived in the place where I grew up, Sitio Kawayan in Barangay Sambag 2.

I doubt if Rama’s link to Tata Negro went deeper than the former mayor and his basketball team playing in a tournament sponsored by the suspected drug lord. Even that one instance when Rama supposedly intervened in a raid on Negro’s house has a version that made the “intervention” an innocent one. But then the police may have information more substantial than what I got, so I maybe wrong.

As for Osmeña, I think the suspicion of him being a drug protector became more pronounced after Jaguar was slain in an operation conducted by then Cebu-based policemen in Las Piñas in June 2016, or before President Duterte could launch his war against illegal drugs. Interestingly, the police officers who killed Jaguar were later transferred to other assignments outside of Cebu, which had many believing the Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy frowned on the operation.

It may not be mere coincidence that the personality who accused Osmeña of receiving payola from a drug syndicate was Jaguar’s cousin. Like I said, the suspicions against Osmeña seems to revolve around the slain drug lord.

But the president and Aguirre should do better than merely raising accusations and substantiate the claims. Osmeña and Rama alternated as mayor in the past decade or more and they must have, at one time or another, associated innocently with some drug personalities in the course of campaigning or even preparing for the electoral campaign. That is different, though, from actual linkage and receiving payola.

Fairness dictates that Aguirre should provide proof to his allegation. But it looks like this is merely a retaliatory act after Osmeña threatened to sue Aguirre for alleged corruption. Will this all be forgotten once Osmeña, like what happened when he withdrew his support to the police, begin to mellow?
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